It occurs to me that I’ve put out two big posts in a row that essentially amount to “I relate strongly to/connect with these characters who get the crap kicked out of them in their respective narratives”, and just in case anyone was getting worried, I want you all to know that I am okay. Just much more aware of some self-worth issues that are bubbling away at the back of my brain, these days, and trying to work through them through the (comparatively) safe lens of stories. This is, after all, one of the great appeals of fiction: it can reflect your own image back to you in sometimes unexpected ways, and that refracted image can throw things unexpectedly into perspective. Maybe this uplifts you, maybe this depresses you, maybe it provides a mix of both. Maybe it reminds you to take better care of yourself. Maybe it just gives you the little thrill of being able to say “same”.
Maybe I’m just feeling sappy–in the wake of the arson attack on Kyoto Animation this month, there’s been an outpouring of pieces (short and longform) about how the studio’s various works impacted people, whether that meant making them feel seen, making them feel happy when they were in a bad place, making them appreciate the beauty of everyday things, or just making them laugh. Out of the tragedy comes a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of art. Engaging with and thinking about stories can save people, whether in great life-altering ways or smaller, seemingly less consequential ones. At the heart of it this, I think, is why I’m so passionate about stories. This stuff matters, you know? I probably don’t need to tell you this if you’re following this blog diligently enough to be reading the ramble at the beginning of the monthly roundup, but it bears repeating.
Take care out there, everyone–of yourselves, of each other, and of the stories close to your heart, and let them take care of you.
On the blog:
Land of the Lustrous as a Story About Burnout – musings on Phos as Millennial icon (this got a ludicrous amount of views in its first week, and is maybe now one of my most-read posts. I’m glad it resonated with so many people! But please, if it resonated with you, go take a nap!!)
Queer YA Mini-Reviews: Snow, Shapeshifters, and Spooky Castles – three more reviews, this time taking a look at Girls Made of Snow and Glass, The Brilliant Death, and Down Among the Sticks and Bones.
Around the web:
The Ultimate Fantasy of Dragon Age: Inquisition is Being Listened to by a Man – an examination of the romantic appeal of Cullen, whose wish-fulfilment ultimately lies in the fact that he’s Just A Good Sweet Boy who genuinely respects the opinions and choices of the female player-character… a low bar, but one that many straight men fictional or otherwise tend not to clear.
Through Doorways: Portal Fantasies as a Means of Queer Escape and Queer Hope – author A.J. Hackworth reflects on Every Heart a Doorway and how it taps into the escapist appeal the portal fantasy genre had for her and a lot of other queer kids.
The Silence of Peggy Carter – another look at how Captain America’s emotional resolution in Avengers: Endgame fell short, with a specific focus on how this “happy ending” robs Peggy of the agency she’d had throughout the series.
Nichijou and the Everyday Epics of High School Girls – a celebration of the bizarre sitcom’s knack for capturing the authentic teen girl experience, and telling a sweet story of friendship amidst the surreal shenanigans.
SARAZANMAI Imagines a Better Future for Queer Love Stories – an analysis of how Ikuhara’s latest delightfully bizarre project addresses and rejects a lot of the negative tropes that can follow queer characters and romances around in anime.
(I know I end up linking a post of Vrai’s basically every month. I know. They just write the good words and I want to share those words around)
Masculine Bisexuality in Games: Past, Present, and Future – a look at the elusive bi male character in the video game medium, and the tropes (and technological limitations) they’ve historically been trapped in on the rare case that they do appear.
Eugene Lee Yang is Making the Internet More Gay – an interview with content creator and BuzzFeed escapee Eugene “Try Guys” Lee Yang, a dude who I have a lot of respect for in his creative abilities, work ethic, and general coolness.
And of course it was premiere review season! I’m keeping an eye on O Maidens in Your Savage Season, given, and the magical-girl-mecha weirdness of GRANBELM, which is the most new stuff I’ve been excited by in a while. How about you guys?
That wraps us up once again. Take care out there, everyone, and take care of each other.